By Jeff Loveness, Juan Doe, and Rachel Deering
World Reader #2 continues the story of Sarah as she explores the universe looking for answers. The question is no longer is there anybody else out there, but what happened to them all. This issue immerses you further into the universe and the souls that inhabit it with a fascinating story and beautiful art.
Jeff Loveness takes the readers into an immersive journey deeper into the universe he has created. He starts by taking us to Earth’s past which foreshadows the future of some of the planets being visited. It reveals how similar we are to other living beings throughout the universe. The big question is, though, what happened to everybody else? The reader is given narration by Sarah’s inner dialogue and it’s a refreshingly casual yet often profound voice. There are a number of panels that do not have dialogue at all and, truthfully, it’s not necessary. The expressions of the characters communicate more than words would dare attempt describe. Loveness does a great job developing an interesting backstory for the alien soul that Sarah comes across. Although he only briefly divulges his past to her, it is obvious so much more has transpired. He seems to have risen to power from being a slave and then lost it all. This is a theme that has been alluded to before in issue one: everybody has a story to tell. Sometimes it is enough to just listen to other people’s stories rather than letting them disappear unheard. Loveness shows us in this issue that Sarah’s story is not being heard. He introduces a Captain that not only doesn’t believe her, but doesn’t want her on board his ship. His overbearing tones are even more harsh compared to the spiritual soul of Sarah. The events at the end of this issue should make some differences for her mission in issues to come.
Juan Doe’s artwork and colors are easily some of the main elements that make World Reader so good. The book is full of vibrant mono and duo colored pages that don’t shy away from extreme shades on either end of the spectrum. In this issue we have some scenes set inside the crew’s space vessel that are colored with cold pale greens. It’s like something was once alive, but had the life sucked out of it. It’s a perfect match for the cold treatment Sarah receives from the captain. The best parts of the book are the opening pages of the issue. They beautifully recount a story from Earth’s distant past and Doe outdoes himself with a rendering of an ancient tower. Later in the book, we are shown a number of alien towers that are designed very differently than Earth’s, but are still beautiful in their own right. The space craft, its interiors, and the space suits all have a great style to them. They are sleek and round, but not bulky like some space accoutrements tend to be. While most things in the book tend to be drawn with detail, the one thing that’s not are the faces. Noses are drawn with only a hint of their shape which leaves the focus on the expressive eyes and mouth. Even when they are drawn in a minimalistic style we get great emotions out of them. It says a lot that humans are drawn with such simple faces, yet the aliens all have nicely detailed faces. It gives them a more advanced feel over the less advanced humans. Doe continues to deliver on the panels that take place in the ether. The contour lines float in and around the characters and give the ether a very three-dimensional feel to it. Everything about this universe is vibrant even though it appears to be dying.
World Reader is, quite simply, amazing. It tells a fascinating story and pleases the eye with its rich art. It’s a definite can’t miss and you should go back and get the first issue as well if you haven’t already.